Philippians 2:1-18 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Irene Heung, Gracepoint Berkeley

In what ways does “grasping” characterize my life contrast to Jesus?
Jesus is equal with God but he doesn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped but made himself nothing, takes on the nature of a servant and dies on the cross for sinners.  Jesus knows fully who he is – son of God – and he knows that his identity is secure.  He is freed to let go and descend.  In contrast I am often anxious to prove myself – to be competent enough or smart enough or helpful enough or loving enough – and to deserve the love I receive or to deserve the position that I’m given.  I’m grasping and unwilling to descend because I want to feel important and valued.  I’m greedy for approval and attention and I’m enslaved by envy and insecurity because though I know that I’m forgiven and adopted as God’s child, my identity in Christ has not fully penetrated my thoughts and emotions.  I’m grasping of my time, resources, and emotions, and unwilling to serve, because I have an individualistic and selfish view of life – that I need to have my needs met and at the end of the day no one else besides me will take care of my needs.  But that thinking is far from the reality of what happened to me – the God of the universe loves me, dies for me, saves me, and involves me in his work in spite of the many times that I rejected and grieved him.  Jesus willingly went to the cross out of love for fallen sinners.  Not only am I a child of God, I’m a child of God in a crooked and depraved generation.  I’m given the word of life and the call to shine like stars together with other believers.  When I’m grasping and self-absorbed, the word of life is hidden and dead. I can loosen my grasp when I see the wickedness and inappropriateness of my grasping.  I can loosen my grasp because God has given me all spiritual blessings in Christ and it is God who exalts me and my role is to submit and obey.  
In what specific ways can I “consider others better than [myself]” and “look to the interests of others?”
I can consider others better than myself, knowing that everyone is better than me in some aspects and that that God took me out of isolation and placed me in community for his work.  When I’m tempted to look down on people, instead of focusing on their weakness or flaw, I can focus on their strengths and be willing to learn from them.  When I’m tempted to envy and withdraw, instead of feeling diminished or envy, I should praise God for them for doing things I can’t do for the kingdom of God, pray for them, and get to know them. 
I can look to the interests of others by thinking– who needs an encouraging email?  Who is sick?  Who are the harried moms?  Who is unemployed and has financial need?  Who is moving and needs help settling in?  and concretely making the effort to meet those needs.

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